The Iron Maidens at Leamington Assembly

‘Scream for me Royal Leamington Spa’ – this is the Iron Maidens in the UK for only the second time ever following on from their single London gig in 2016. This 5 date mini tour, which took in Cardiff, Reading, Leamington, Sheffield and London, was sure to bring in the fans of Iron Maiden. Leamington didn’t disappoint.

The 5-piece band, taking on parody names of their male counterparts, played a 2 hour set of Iron Maiden favourites most of which had a good level of audience participation.

By many standards it was a short set, if the setlist was anything to go by, with just 15 songs….but then you realise just how long Iron Maiden songs can be and they managed to fill the 2 hours quite comfortably.

The band stuck with the earlier songs, taken from albums released between 1980 and 1992 and kicked off with ‘Aces High’ from 1984’s Powerslave. The band is made up of guitarist Nikki Stringfield (aka Davina Murray), vocalist Kirsten Rosenberg (aka Bruce Chickinson), bassist Wanda Ortiz (aka Steph Harris), guitarist Courtney Cox (aka Adriana Smith) and drummer/founding member Linda McDonald (aka Nikki McBurrain). Only Janick Gers has no representative here mainly because, the ladies say with tongue in cheek, they are financially challenged but they have played with a third guitarist on occasions, presumably that would be Janice Gers!

As they ran through ‘Revelations’ followed by ‘Wasted Years’ and ‘Losfer Words’ it was obvious just how talented this band was, the sound was heavy, the vocals strong and it was all presented flawlessly. The dual guitars of ‘Murray’ and ‘Smith’ were sharp as razors, the bass of ‘Harris’ deep and thunderous. At the back ‘McBurrain’ kept time like a metronome while ‘Chickinson’ at the front bellowed at the audience. More favourites followed as they stomped through ‘The Trooper’, ‘Duellists’ and ‘Powerslave’ in quick succession. Before you realised what had happened almost an hour had gone by but there was no signs of the band slowing down. ‘Prisoner’ and ‘Children of the Damned’, both from 1982’s Number of the Beast came next before a slight pause as Chickinson addressed the audience….it was time for them to make a choice and influence the setlist.

‘Alexander the Great’? Cheers and clapping.

‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’? Loud cheers, screams and mad clapping.

Choice made.

‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ from Powerslave got an airing as the fans choice and this was followed by one of the band’s anthems, ‘Number of the Beast’.

Every now and then Chickinson would exit the stage for a quick costume change or to collect a Union flag as the band kept things going. The atmosphere was brilliant, the band were electric, the audience soaked up every note, every word. The main set was brought to a close with ‘Phantom of the Opera’ followed by ‘Fear of the Dark’ and the band left the stage to wild applause and chants of “more, more”. The fans didn’t have to wait long.

The band returned to the Iron Maiden roots with two songs from the self-titled first album as they played ‘Running Free’ and then the title track, ‘Iron Maiden’.

The show was over, the fans left happy, some stayed on in the hope they would see the band. I’d like to thank each and every one of the ladies for signing some photographs which will bring in charitable funds. A fab night with a fab band, I hope they make this a regular trip across the pond.

Words & pictures: Reg Richardson

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